Sunday, 9 January 2011


“An artist never really finishes his work; he merely abandons it.” - Paul Valéry

Something unusual for Art Sunday today. An artist who creates ephemeral art on the sandy beaches of New Zealand. Part of the appeal is the extremely transient nature of his art, but also the way that he creates these graceful sand pictures. When the Sunday morning tide goes out, Peter Donnelly cycles down to the beach below New Brighton pier, and with a rake and stick for paintbrushes, sets about transferring his imagination’s vision onto the sand. Elaborate patterns integrate seamlessly with recognisable representational forms of faces, plants and objects as Donnelly’s works materialize beneath his seemingly dancing feet and the masterly strokes of his rake and stick.

The artist and “Sand Dancer”, Peter Donnelly, makes sand paintings at low tide most weekends. This is a piece of his in New Brighton beach near the pier, in the South Island City of Christchurch in New Zealand. His work can take four hours or more, and a piece of art that looks as though it might have taken days to create is there for all to see, before the tide rolls in and the work is destroyed. For Peter Donnelly, this is an essential part of the process: An ephemeral moment in which a gift is given, to himself, the onlookers, the sun and sand and the boundless ocean.

More about his work here:

1 comment:

  1. That is so neat! thanks for the introduction to this artist, Nicholas. I really like his philosophy.
    Who said art belongs in a museum and that it has to last forever?
    WRONG! :-)